• A group of companies are hoping to bring to market blood tests that can screen for cancer at the earliest stages. 
  • They are taking markedly different approaches. Freenome is focusing on one cancer type, while Grail and Thrive are looking across multiple cancers. 
  • This could be the decade that they succeed. 

Getting a blood test to screen for cancer in the earliest stages might seem like a pipe dream. But a group of biotech entrepreneurs say they're close to making it a reality.

If Gabriel Otte's start-up, Freenome, is successful, millions of people could get a blood test to screen for early-stage colorectal cancer. Freenome looks for two major biomarkers in the blood. It's simultaneously hunting for tiny fragments of DNA that are shed into the bloodstream from a tumor, as well as early signals that the patient's immune system is starting to respond.